The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Contributed by Marinda Dreiling
Chapter 11

On his way back through the hotel lobby, Holden gets Jane Gallagher on his mind again. They met, Holden says, when they lived next door in Maine one summer, and the two of them used to play golf and checkers together. While he won’t describe her as conventionally beautiful, Holden is obviously smitten. He seems particularly fixated on her mouth, and he seems to have a general fondness for Jane’s mind and sensibilities. They haven’t, Holden is quick to mention, even necked, though they did come close one time, when Jane broke down over her booze-hound step-father, Mr. Cudahy, and Holden was driven to console her with kisses, though none on those famous lips.

Jane and Holden seem to have had, from Holden’s description of things, a sweet relationship, with a good bit of hand-holding and mutual respect. So sitting as he now is, in a "vomity-looking" chair in the lobby of a seedy hotel, thinking about Stradlater giving his old friend "the time," Holden is nearly overwhelmed with depression. He decides to head out to a piano club his brother D.B. used to frequent, though even the possibly authentic pleasure of a piano bar leaves a bad taste in Holden’s mouth. He says of Ernie, the player there,

"He’s so good he’s almost corny, in fact. I don’t exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it. I certainly like to hear him play, but sometimes you feel like turning his goddam piano over. I think it’s because sometimes when he plays, he sounds like the kind of guy that won’t talk to you unless you’re a big shot." Chapter 11, pg. 80

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